One of the biggest challenges for a person becoming a great leader is the tendency to be a control freak. Some of the symptoms of this challenge are a business that is stumbling, a frustrated owner, or employees who are not on the same page. This does not start out as a problem. In fact, it starts out as strength.
Let’s consider this scenario. A person has talent in home repairs. He does great work and he has loyal customers. He begins to get busy to the point that he cannot do all the work himself so he hires others. Bear in mind that he has developed a quality brand based on his individual work. In this scenario it is only natural that he wants to protect his brand so he very closely supervises the work of his helpers and employees to the point that he could almost do the work himself. Now his strength has become his problem. He is getting marginal results from his team because he is micro managing. The end result is that he really cannot take on much more work and his business cannot grow.
Now let’s at an employee who works at a company or business. She does excellent work. She services the customers and receives rave reviews. She receives a well-deserved promotion. Now she is the customer service manager and has a team of customer service representatives. In an effort to continue her top customer service rating she closely monitors all of the representatives and sometimes even steps in and says, “Let me take this one. It is complicated and I know the customer.” But she has other duties now. Her boss asks her why the overall customer service rating is remaining low even though she was always received top ratings as an individual.
Now here are some questions related to each of these scenarios or case studies. What new responsibilities does that contractor have? What is the customer service manager being paid to do? The chart below explains.
As you grow your business your responsibilities change. Once you hire your first person you are now responsible for managing in addition individual work. You now start working on running your business in addition to doing the work. As you see from the chart the more people you hire the more you will be managing. In fact, at some point, you he will have to start working ON his business rather than IN his business.
The customer service manager is now being evaluated on the results of her people. Even though she can do it she will end up failing if she does not get the team or staff to do it well. She needs to master those people skills before being promoted to middle management. The book, “The Peter Principle” says that people tend to be promoted to the level of their incompetence. Does that necessarily have to be the case? I would say no. Not if you learn to start managing and stop being a control freak.